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Youth and Families Development Promoter

Project description

Ecuador is a country synonymous with diversity. Although geographically small, Ecuador’s four regions are home to some of Earth’s greatest biodiversity. Ecuadorians reflect this distinctive diversity within their regional cultures. As a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ecuador, you will have the opportunity to collaborate with Ecuadorian communities while gaining experience living and working in this rich geographic and cultural tapestry.

The goal of the Peace Corps Ecuador Youth and Families Development (YFD) Project is to support youth to become healthy, productive, civically engaged adults with the support of their families. YFD Volunteers work with youth ages 10 to 29 from under resourced communities to implement positive youth development and community programs. Projects include life-skills development, leadership activities, developing self-esteem, substance abuse prevention, service learning, vocational training, income generation, HIV/AIDS awareness, parenting skills development, community organizing, organizational development, and stay-in-school programs.

The YFD project has 4 objectives:

1. Increase the knowledge and skills of youth to improve their life skills and well-being.

2. Expand opportunities for youth community engagement.

3. Increase youth employability skills.

4. Strengthen the skills of parents/caregivers to support positive youth development.

Activities under these objectives could include the following:

• Training youth in life skills, such as self-esteem, goal-setting and values, decision making, communication, leadership, alcohol and substance abuse prevention, gender equality, and sexual education and HIV/AIDS prevention.

• Leading and supporting youth in clubs, camps, sports, art, recreation and physical activity as an alternative outlet where youth can exercise positive behaviors.

• Designing and facilitating a Training of Trainers (agency staff, community members, teachers, youth leaders, social workers, etc.) workshop, on using positive youth development approaches, facilitation skills, volunteerism, service-learning, advocacy, community assessment, and project design and management.

• Coordinating with counterparts to improve their organizational capabilities, helping them to initiate and organize community development activities.

• Training youth in employability and vocational skills.

• Tutoring youth in after-school and literacy programs that help youth to improve reading and comprehension skills.

• Training families and community members on parenting skills, and positive youth development.

YFD Volunteers participate in the Peace Corps monitoring, reporting, and evaluation (MRE) process. All Volunteers receive MRE training and submit regular reports. The MRE system helps Peace Corps monitor its progress, report its accomplishments, and evaluate and improve its impact. The opportunity to learn and practice professional MRE skills is among the many valued and tangible benefits of Peace Corps service.

Required skills

Qualified candidates will have one or more of the following criteria:

• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any field

OR

• 5 years' professional work experience

Desired skills

Competitive candidates will have one or more of the following criteria:

• Master’s degree in Social Work, Psychology, Education, Youth Development, Applied Behavioral Science or related field.

• Bachelor’s degree in Social Work, Social Studies, Psychology, Education, Youth Development, Applied Behavioral Science or other related field and at least 3 months of experience working with youth and/or families.

• 3 years of professional experience working with youth and/or families from underserved communities.

• Experience promoting life skills, vocational skills, substance abuse prevention, youth leadership and development, gender empowerment, literacy, parenting skills, HIV/AIDS prevention and sex education, small business development, and financial literacy using non-formal and experiential education methodologies.

• Experience in facilitation, organizational, assessment, and leadership.

Required language skills

There are no pre-requisite language requirements for this position. PC Ecuador recommends candidates meet one of the following criteria but there are no pre-requisite language requirements for this position.

A. Completed 4 years of high school Spanish coursework
B. Completed minimum 2 semesters of Spanish college‐level coursework
C. Proficiency in another romance language (e.g. French, Portuguese, Italian)

It is important to maintain an engaged attitude about language learning throughout the experience. Volunteers in Ecuador live, learn, and work in Spanish. Spanish is necessary for day-to-day activities in the community, and over the course of the initial 10-week training period, Peace Corps Trainees receive a significant amount of training and support in the learning of Spanish. Volunteers will also need to dedicate substantial time to learning and practicing language in day-to-day life. Trainees must demonstrate an intermediate level of oral proficiency at the end of the training program in order to continue their service.

Peace Corps Ecuador highly encourages all applicants to begin working on their Spanish by taking classes or tutoring sessions prior to departing for Ecuador. Trainees who arrive in country with low levels of Spanish sometimes find reaching proficiency challenging within the 10-week training period.

Living conditions

HOUSING: Volunteers (PCVs) will live with a host family during the 10 weeks of Training. Upon successful completion of training, PCVs will then live with a new host family in their community for the first four months of their two-year service. Peace Corps Ecuador carefully selects host families in the community prior to the arrival of the PCVs. Living with a host family increases PCV safety, acceptance, integration, and language acquisition. PCVs are encouraged to live with a host family throughout their entire service.

In Ecuador, living with family is the norm for most adults, including college-educated professionals. Generally, adult children live with their parents until they get married and start a family of their own.

COMMUNITY LIFE: PCVs live in urban, semi-urban, and rural communities across coastal, highland, and Amazon regions. Most houses have electricity, but outages are frequent. Many homes have indoor toilets, but latrines are common in rural areas.

Common foods include rice, potatoes, meats, seafood, and vegetables. Soups are popular and fruit smoothies are common. It is possible to be vegetarian, but difficult for vegans. Maximum flexibility around accepting local foods is essential for strong integration.

PCVs travel on public buses between communities and cities. Travel by boat is common in the Amazon region and in some coastal areas, while biking is popular throughout the country.

The Ecuadorian climate is temperate year-round in the mountain valleys, a humid subtropical climate in coastal areas, and rainforest lowlands, with two seasons: rainy and dry. Traveling with layers is recommended.

During Training, PCVs will live in communities at around 9,500 feet in elevation and will be supported in learning how to adapt to high altitude conditions.

Each job location and counterpart organization will have its unique benefits and challenges. It's up to each individual to adapt into that reality and make it a positive experience.

APPEARANCE: Ecuadorians dress professionally for work in a style that translates to “business casual.” How one dresses is important for successful integration. It is important to keep hair neat and clean, and beards trimmed. Tattoos are traditionally perceived as unprofessional, but attitudes are slowly changing. In general, tattoos should be covered, and visible facial piercings removed in the workplace.

TECHNOLOGY: Phone service is reliable but calling the U.S. is expensive. Many towns and cities have internet cafes, and many shops/restaurants offer Wi-Fi.

PCVs have found that bringing a laptop or tablet, while not a requirement, facilitates completing assignments during training and to access and share technical resources during service. As an alternative to bringing your own laptop, PCVs may complete assignments and access resources with a PC-provided tablet or through a computer lab at the Training Center or the Peace Corps office.

CULTURE & DIVERSITY: Ecuadorians are typically very social and curious. It’s important for PCVs to socialize and engage with family and neighbors. They are likely to ask personal questions to better understand American culture and the PCV’s background.

Ethnically, nationally, or racially diverse Americans may be asked where they are “actually from” or if they are “really” American. American concepts of politeness and appropriateness are not universal. LGBTQI+ PCVs may find that local customs are very conservative and should be prepared for this challenge. Ecuadorians are generally tolerant but also conservative.

PCVs should be mindful of cultural norms and use their judgment to determine the best way to approach diversity topics in their communities. We encourage PCVs to be open to Ecuadorian diversity, including approaching Ecuadorian cultural values and views with curiosity. The Peace Corps strives to support Volunteers throughout service by cultivating an inclusive, open, non-judgmental atmosphere that values diversity.

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Ecuador: Get detailed information on culture, communications, housing, and health/crime statistics in order to make a well-informed decision about serving.

Medical considerations

Before you apply, please review medical clearance and legal clearance to learn about the process.

Couples information

Ecuador welcomes cross-sector couples to apply. This means your partner should apply and qualify for:

Health and Well-being Promoter.

Couples should expect living conditions to be the same for them as for single Volunteers. Couples will live with separate host families during the 10 weeks of Training. After training, couples will live together in their assigned community for the duration of their two-year service.

After an initial four months in your assigned community, Volunteers are eligible to live independently if they receive approval by the Peace Corps and can identify a living situation in the community that meets the Peace Corps’ housing criteria. Some communities do not have a live-alone option and all Volunteers, including couples, must be open to the possibility of living with a host family during their entire 27 months of service.

The Peace Corps works to foster safe and productive assignments for same-sex couples, and same-sex couples are not placed in countries where homosexual acts are criminalized. Because of this, same-sex couple placements are more limited than heterosexual couple placements. During the application process Recruiters and Placement Officers work closely with same-sex couple applicants to understand current placement opportunities.

For more information please visit:
https://www.peacecorps.gov/faqs/lgbtq/.

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